This morning before leaving to lead worship at a church in Chambersburg I help out once a month, I was listening to Joel Osteen’s broadcast. He was telling a story that really made an impression on me. Joel tells the story of a man who was a chronic worrier, always thinking about the worst that could happen to him. One day at his job he got locked in one of the refrigerated box cars without his radio or cell phone and no one was around. When he realized he was locked in, he panicked and started yelling and pounding on the door, doing this for hours until his hands were bleeding and he lost his voice. He knew he was in a refrigerated boxcar where the temperature was usually below freezing. He began to fear the worse, that he would not make it out and would freeze to death. He must have thought that he would not get out that night alive. The more he thought about it, the more cold he became until he was shaking from the cold. He found a cardboard box and wrote on it “So cold, body getting numb, these might be my last words”. The next morning when workers came and opened that steel doors to the boxcar they found him curled up in the corner, dead. The autopsy report revealed that he had indeed frozen to death. The amazing thing about this story is that the refrigeration unit in that car was never even on, the temperature was at 61 degrees. The man died because the thing he feared came upon him even though it was not the truth of what was actually happening.
Wow! This just really spoke to me. What you dwell on most often becomes a reality. So if you are thinking on things that are negative and fear based, it is not going to bring life to you. How many times have my thoughts brought death to my dreams, my hopes, my spirit and my body. The word of God says the following in The Message Bible:
Philippians 4:6-9 : 6-7 Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.
So, I’m not to fret or worry? Is that even possible you may ask. This next part seems to be the key.
8-9 Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized. Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies.
Changing how we think and speak is something that does not just happen. You have to continue to renew your mind by putting in the good and casting out all the bad. How do you fill you mind with the good? How do you only think on the best, the beautiful, the things to praise? Here is what I have found to work for me. I look up all the scriptures I can find that tell me about all the goodness of my God, all His love, His grace, His mercy He has for me. I seek out what He says about what I have because I belong to Him and am His daughter. Then I speak those words over myself. I find songs of praise that say the same things and listen and sing them all day long. I have found that the more I do this during the day, the healthier I feel, the more strength comes into my body, the more my spirit is uplifted and encouraged. The less time I spend listening to the negative things around me and only allow into my spirit and my mind the positive, life giving truths that God wants me to know, the more and more I become full of life and then death can have no place there anymore. It’s funny to say this, but in the presence of God’s truth, His life, death cannot live, it cannot stay as death. Life is breathed into the death and we are changed!
So, I encourage you…..Don’t think yourself to death. Think yourself into life.
To hear more from Joel Osteen’s broadcast:#569, Activate Faith, Not Fear – click here.
Seeing ourselves with God’s eyes and how it effects our praises and our worship.
One of the things I’m planning to touch on in the future in one of my In-Home Worship Encounter Events, is our need to see God in a new way and in turn being able to see ourselves as God truly sees us. His love and grace make it possible for us to come boldly before Him, openly without restraint or reserve in our praises. The problem is that many of us have a hard time lifting our praises up like that because we come to God feeling condemnation, quilt, or unworthy of His love and grace for us. We expect ourselves to first come to him perfect. No one is going to be able to come to God perfect and without having messed up sometime during the day. If we wait till we are perfect before coming boldly before God with our praises, our adoration, even our requests in prayer, we will never be able to come to Him and lift up our praises unrestrained. This affects us being able to enter into an intimate time of worship.
I’ve had a revelation recently through my own experiences from my journey of healing from the abuse of my past and my journey to know what true worship is all about. Worship is being intimate with God, touching Him and His heart and my praises unlocks the door to that kind of intimate worship. I see that God wants us to come to Him as we are; broken, hurting, imperfect people. When I forget about myself, my imperfections, my unworthiness and focus on all that Jesus did for me, when I get a glimpse of His grace, His mercy and His amazing love for me, then my heart wells up with praise. When I see myself through His eyes, see how He sees me, it changes everything. I become more free in my praises, because I’m so overwhelmed with thanks and adoration for all He has done in my life that my heart is able to enter into a place of worship that is true worship and the more this enables me to do the things I know God is desiring me to do. It is no longer me trying on my own to be the person I myself think God wants me to be, but now I’m able to do it because His spirit has empowered me to be able to do so. My unrestrained praises brings me to that place of deep intimate worship, of being in God’s presence which in turn makes me more and more like God. I have His spirit empowering me and then I can do anything He is directing me to do. How we praise is important to how we will be able to enter into worship and that is all connected to how we carry out the things He places in us to do. These are truths I have proven in my own life over and over again.